The Use of Stomatal Frequency from Three Australian Evergreen Tree Species as a Proxy Indicator of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Concentration

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Victoria University (Melbourne, Vic.), 2011 - Carbon dioxide
Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) is the main contributing factor to anthropogenically derived global climate change. The impact of climate change upon terrestrial ecosystems is still uncertain. If information can be obtained on how past fluctuations in [CO2] and temperature has affected terrestrial communities this knowledge can increase our understanding as to how future climate change may impact upon modern-day ecosystems. Foliar stomatal frequency analysis is a proxy-CO2 measure that may provide estimates of atmospheric [CO2] from subfossil or fossil leaf material. Currently, the majority of the research in this field has been conducted on deciduous Northern Hemisphere species including extant and fossil material. Southern Hemisphere fossil species are currently under-represented in the fossil proxy-CO2 database. The rate of climate change in the Southern Hemisphere is less than that experienced in the Northern Hemisphere, so using Northern Hemisphere derived training sets to provide Southern Hemisphere CO2 estimates may introduce confounding errors. Therefore, the use of Southern Hemisphere training sets on Southern Hemisphere fossil material will provide more accurate atmospheric CO2 estimations. This thesis will contribute to the field of knowledge by determining the applicability of three Southern Hemisphere evergreen tree species to be used as potential proxy-CO2 indicator species.

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